CORNWALL, Ontario – At their meeting on Monday, Sept. 9, Cornwall City Council rejected a proposal to rename Riverdale Park to Gerry Grant Park after former Cornwall Alderman Gerry Grant.
“After reviewing the Request and the public comments, The Commemorative Naming Committee, came to the consensus that it would be recommending to Council that it not approve the renaming of Riverdale Park,” reads administration’s report to council.
While Council agreed with the name change, some felt that the naming process in the City of Cornwall itself needed to be reviewed.
“We’ve got to come up with a better strategy,” said Councillor Claude McIntosh. “There’s got to be a better naming process. I think we need to come up with a priority list.”
McIntosh pointed to a variety of famous Cornwallites who had nothing named after them in the City of Cornwall.
“John Sandfield MacDonald, first Premier, lived on York St., where can you find anything named after John Sandfield MacDonald,” said McIntosh.
He pointed to other names, like Bob Turner, the first black Recreation Director in Cornwall, the province of Ontario and perhaps all of Canada. Also, Nathan Phillips, who also grew up on York St., was a former Mayor of Toronto and has a Square named after him in that city. Or even Mary Mack, the first female Councillor in the history of the City of Cornwall who was deeply involved in the community, also has nothing that commemorates her name.
“Gerry Grant was a great man,” said McIntosh. “He was a Citizen of the Year, but we’ve had about 50 of them.”
McIntosh also would like to see the naming process debated behind closed doors where Councillors can talk freely and objectively about the merits of a potential recipient of such an honour.
Council passed a motion to ask administration for a report on how the naming process in Cornwall could be reformed.
Cornwall Councillor Glen Grant (no relation) was one of the Council members who opposed the motion feeling that it was not necessary to make such changes.